Growing Young Scientists

Michael and I have two beautiful little boys, ages 2 and 4. With a software engineer for a dad, and a biologist for a mom they are destined to be total geeks. Right now hey are rambunctious little bear cubs, but there are things that we can do as parents to nurture their curiosity and help them to develop their scientific minds. There are lots of resources and tips found online, but these are the things that we do regularly.

1) Get outside.

Old Faithful

Backyard Plants

Allow your children to explore the world around them. This can mean traveling to really awesome locations like Yellowstone to observe the majesty of Old Faithful or it can be as simple as just checking out what’s growing in your backyard, or watching the birds in a feeder on you back patio. The more children are exposed to the miracles of nature, the more they will want to explore on their own. Trust me, they will ask questions that you never dreamed to ask. Encourage them to make observations and comparisons about what they see.

2) Experiment at home.

One of my favorite easy experiments for kids.

There are all sorts of experiments that you can do with kids at home. You can find a good list here or explore on your own (Pinterest is great for this!!!). The experiment in the picture above uses milk, food coloring and dish soap to demonstrate surface tension. Other home experiments can be done to explore density, temperature, textures, basic physics, etc. You can help your kids to start making their own hypotheses and predictions.

3) Cook with your kids.

Measuring Tools

Cooking is one of the best ways to teach kids how to follow a list of instructions. With my college students I am amazed at how many of them cannot follow a simple protocol. Working in a science lab is just like cooking in a kitchen, the only difference is that you don’t eat what you make. Cooking is also great for teaching kids how to measure and count.

4) Let your kids get dirty.

The sand table. A.K.A the thorn in my side.

This year our boys got two sand and water tables. They love them. I have grown to hate them because the sand and water create messes of epic proportions. They are wonderful, however for teaching the boys about fluid dynamics. They learn how to build and dig. They feel the movement, not just observe it.

There are sooo many things we can do with our kids that I haven’t listed here. What sort of activities do you like to do with your kids to encourage them to become scientists in their own right?

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